Green Bay Packers

The Stand Out Trait That Gives Dontayvion Wicks' WR1 Potential

Photo Credit: Wm. Glasheen via USA TODAY Sports

Dontayvion Wicks ranked in the top 10 among rookie wide receivers with at least 30 targets for receiving yards, yards per catch, and receiving touchdowns. He also had a top-10 PFF receiving grade and overall offensive grade. Wicks finished the 2023 season with 39 receptions, 581 yards, and four receiving touchdowns.

Christian Watson, Romeo Doubs, Jayden Reed, and Wicks can all become Green Bay’s WR1 in 2024. However, Wicks has a standout trait that sets him apart: his ability to get open against man coverage.

Wicks also reliably moved the chains. Last year, he ranked among the top three rookie receivers in first downs per route run versus receiving yards per game.

NFL teams tend to value receivers who excel at getting open in crunch time. For example, during the 2024 draft, the San Francisco 49ers reportedly were more inclined to trade Deebo Samuel than Brandon Aiyuk. Despite Deebo being a more complete player, Aiyuk is a more polished receiver who consistently gets separation on difficult downs. By dealing Aiyuk, San Francisco would lack a primary receiving option. Conversely, dealing Samuel would still leave them with physical specimens like George Kittle and Christian McCaffrey.

Watson, Doubs, Wicks, and Reed complement each other well. Watson is the deep threat, Doubs led the Packers in contested catches last year, and Reed plays a versatile gadget role in the offense. However, Wicks possesses the primary X-factor that NFL teams seek in a receiver. With an enhanced understanding of coverages and defensive tendencies going into Year 2, he has the potential to become a nightmare for opposing cornerbacks.

Upon entering the NFL, Wicks exhibited a higher level of refinement than Davante Adams did in his rookie season in 2014. Wicks surpassed Adams in several categories, securing three more receptions and accumulating an additional 159 yards receiving. Moreover, Wicks had more touchdown receptions than Adams, catching two more touchdowns during their respective rookie campaigns.

Wicks’ exceptional ability to execute any route with precision is a standout aspect of his skillset. Whether it’s a post, curl, or out route, he excels equally across the board. His versatility in route running sets him apart, allowing him to perform at a consistently high level regardless of the route’s complexity or type. Notably, 11.4% of Wicks’ routes last year were out routes, and he had a 90% success rate on them.

Despite a slow start to 2023, Wicks hit his stride midway through the season, a turning point highlighted by an interaction with former Packer Aaron Jones. From this moment onward, Wicks showed notable improvement, evidenced by achieving four PFF receiving grades above 76.

If Dontayvion Wicks can capitalize on the strong groundwork established in the second half of his rookie year, he has the potential to develop into Green Bay’s future cornerstone receiver. Moreover, Jordan Love will enter the 2024 season more confidently, making Wicks’ life easier. Packers fans have every reason to believe he can develop into one of the premier receivers in the NFL.

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